Exercise Is So Much More Than Just Physical Activity
June 30, 2017
Exercise is one of those things that people either enjoy, feel indifferent towards or dislike. Regardless of which category you fall under, in my opinion, exercise is so much more than just physical activity. I’ve felt this way about exercise throughout my life because of the many benefits I’ve seen it provide for both myself as well as my students/clients. I hope my facial expression in this blog photo conveys the level of happiness, strength and hope I feel when I exercise.
At a very scientific level, exercise releases endorphins, which are neurotransmitters within your brain that make you feel happy and elevate your mood. According to a February, 2016 article by the American Council on Exercise, while exercise does also temporarily increase the amounts of the stress hormone called cortisol within your body during high intensity training, as long as you prioritize proper recovery, this type of stress is actually good for you and your ability to handle challenges, not just within your training, but in life in general. You will then feel a sense of accomplishment and satisfaction that will last long after the exercise has been completed.
In addition, exercise helps provide you with a sense of inner confidence that comes from not just how it makes you look, but how it makes you feel. When you can set goals, work hard physically and mentally to achieve them and then actually accomplish what you set out to, you may feel like you can do anything you set your mind to. Therefore, the confidence you first felt from exercise alone can translate into other parts of your life as well – perhaps within your career, academics, personal and social life, etc.
I had a student in my Passion Fit: Train class today who is disabled and has to walk with a walker. I was so incredibly impressed with her fearlessness and determination to do as many of the intervals as she could. Of course we discussed modifications and safe ways for her to do the exercises with her disabilities in mind, but she never once got frustrated, complained or gave up. She just kept going and making adjustments as needed. And when I told her I wanted to do everything I could to accommodate her needs in my class today so she would feel comfortable, she said the responsibility was also on herself to listen to her body and know her own capabilities and limitations. Wow! She was so inspiring to me and I hope her ability to take a very challenging and intense exercise class despite her disabilities, spills over into other areas of her life as well.
Exercise can also have a very spiritual component to it, especially when you incorporate yoga, deep breathing, meditation, dance and music. You have the ability to connect your body to your mind and be fully immersed in the present moment. You’re able to let go of your inhibitions, fears and doubts and just let your heart lead you to move your body, challenge your mind and use your senses. These types of experiences can be transformative in your life and allow you to deeply connect with yourself and others. That’s a pretty major benefit of exercise if you ask me!
Finally, exercise is a healthy habit you can develop in your life and come back to, time and time again. It’s like a friend that won’t let you down. Whether you’re feeling stressed, anxious, unhappy, lonely, hopeless or sick, exercise over time, will help you deal with these emotions and physical ailments. It will help prevent or manage diseases such as diabetes, heart disease, cancer and more. Therefore, I encourage you all to make exercise, in whatever form works for you, a regular part of your life if you haven’t already. The benefits will be both immediate and long term and will multiply the more you do it over time. Why? Because exercise is SO much more than just physical activity and I hope after reading this post, you’ll feel this way too!
That’s it for today, Passion Fit Crew. Have a wonderful weekend and I’ll be back with another blog post soon!